We all know social network marketing is the buzz right now. What do I do? How do I do it? I need help? Bla, bla, bla. If you are a marketer then social media marketing is no doubt a part of your total communications strategy and within that strategy there is a heading titled ‘Social Media’ – but the voice in your head asks: ”What will be my ROI?”; “How do I justify this spend and how will it be measured?”

OK. I am here to tell you that ROI is yesterday’s news and today the real question is ROE: Return On Effort! Yes, ROE! Why? Because social media marketing requires creative ideas, content creators, content pushers, content managers, data analysts (for major campaigns), external resources to push content, etc. You can’t just create a Facebook page and expect one million sign ups. It just doesn’t work like that.

So listen up, here is the deal with social media marketing. It’s a major effort for ‘some’ kind of return. The return on your efforts could be measured by changed perceptions and or increased awareness. They key to your return is the creative idea. Social networking is all about connecting you to your constituents and your constituents with constituents but you must be able to provide value. How do you do this? That’s the million dollar question.

If your company moves products then you may think about engaging digital influencers such as famous bloggers, famous twitterers, etc. Give them products to review, use and experience and get them to write about their experience – good and or bad every day for a period of time. Imagine the real dialogue you will be able to access. Imagine the opportunity to be able to get to know your customer. A brilliant social media campaign can also have a positive domino effect such as increased impressions on your website, increase in customer service enquiries (online and offline) and even an increase in sales. All of these can be measured. You may be asking isn’t this ROI? Yes it is but you need to put in effort and resources before you can measure ROI.